Posts Tagged ‘Classroom Garden’

Fertilizing the Garden with the 4R’s of Nutrient Management

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
The garden looks green and healthy. I spent the last hour pulling weeds! Boy, do they grow fast! The carrots are thinner than I want and my green bean stand is weak as well. I will plant a few more rows of green beans to make up for what didn’t germinate earlier this spring. I have spent hours planting, watering, tilling, hoeing, weeding and now it’s time to fertilize! (more…)

The Resources You Need To Start Your School Garden

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
  I believe every school should have a garden. Think back to your education, what do you remember? What teacher had an impact? I bet those memories are tied to an activity or teacher who brought innovation and experiential learning to the classroom.   What makes a school garden successful? Purpose, People and Passion   “Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration.” -Lou Erickson   Purpose: The success of a school garden depends upon the fertility of the soil and the number of times the garden is used. The garden has to have purpose. The class has to have a reason to visit the garden, if not it sits idle, full of potential and completely untapped. Bring the class to the garden every day, even if just for a minute. A garden that is seen is a garden that thrives. Find curriculum that enhances the classroom academic standards. Use curriculum that gives you a reason to spend time in the garden; incorporate science, math, English, reading, nutrition and exercise into garden time. If the garden has purpose, it will be used and it will produce more than fruit; it will produce knowledge, understanding, application, and change.   People: It’s nearly impossible to build, maintain and grow a school garden by yourself. It takes a team of people. Create a committee; include staff, custodial team members, administration, parents and students. Communicate frequently, share a vision and move forward together.   Passion: A garden is living and it takes dedication to make it productive, especially in a school setting. Most school gardens begin when one or two individuals have a strong desire. Passion can dwindle as weeds grow, in addition to time and financial constraints. The passion to keep a garden growing must be continually fertilized with…

FFA Friday: Louisiana

Friday, October 10th, 2014
Ponchatoula FFA Takes First Place Award Honors, Central LaFourche FFA Wins Second, and St. Amante FFA Wins Third Place Happy FFA Friday! Louisiana had six participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow Program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Ponchatoula FFA, Central LaFourche FFA, and St. Amante FFA. Ponchatoula FFA won first place by creating and presenting exhibits for community events. The chapter presented fertilizer and planting demonstrations for strawberries to over 10,000 visitors at their town’s annual Strawberry Festival. The chapter also volunteered at a local organization for people with disabilities, helping them evaluate thefertilizer needs for the soil in their  raised bed gardens. Central LaFourche FFA won second place for their nutrient lessons for fourth and fifth grade students. The chapter split into teams of two and visited classrooms demonstrating the soil components, they discussed which nutrients are required to help plants grow, and raised awareness of coastal erosion. They used the Nutrients for Life curriculum to design experiments for the students, including a bean plant and soil layers experiment. The St. Amante FFA chapter won third place for developing hands-on workshops for elementary school students. The workshops focused on plant development, soil testing, planting vegetables, and how to apply fertilizer to gardens. They also taught the students how to track how fertilizer increases plant production. Congratulations to all the chapters that participated! The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Louisiana is supported by the program’s founding sponsor, PotashCorp. FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found at here.

Nutrients in the Garden 20: Pumpkins & Peanuts

Monday, October 6th, 2014
We did it! For the first time ever, we grew pumpkins and peanuts! Adding new crops to the garden keeps our fingernails dirty and our interested peaked. From one seed packet, costing $1.99 we picked 15 pumpkins!! If I had bought 15 pumpkins at $4.00 each, I would have spent $60. Growing the pumpkins was relatively easy this year. I fertilized twice, watered regularly, hoed weeds A LOT, and didn’t have any insect problems. We are definitely going to plant pumpkins again next year. Who knew they would be so heavy? I didn’t know anything about growing peanuts. I wanted to try something new and peanuts were for sale with the other seed last spring. I said, “let’s try it,” and threw the packet in the shopping cart. I am so glad I did. We have been talking about the peanuts all summer, anticipation of what it growing beneath the soil. Our plants were just beginning to turn yellow and that is when the seed packet said to harvest.  We pulled the plant up and much to our amazement, there were cute peanuts attached to the roots. We shook the soil off and studied the little nuts! Although they are harvested, the peanuts have to dry before we can eat them. We are going to hang them in the garage for a month. Oh, I hope they taste good and don’t disappoint my hopes! I think we will try them raw and roasted.  Did you know that it takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter? Could this be the beginning of a Halloween costume? I would recommend adding pumpkins or peanuts to any home or school garden. Kids easily related to the big orange squash and the delicious taste of peanut butter. Both of…

FFA Friday: Kansas

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Inman FFA Takes First Place Award Honors; Clay Center FFA Wins Second, and Ellsworth FFA Wins Third Place Welcome back to FFA Friday! Kansas had nine participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow Program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Inman FFA, Clay Center FFA, and Ellsworth FFA. Inman FFA took top honors by partnering with their local schools and community members. All 84 chapter members helped to increase the size of their local garden and produced four videos played on their local television channel. The chapter also visited elementary and middle school classrooms to teach lessons about healthy lifestyles and growing plants. Clay Center FFA won second place by partnering with the local school district and Wilbur-Ellis representative. The chapter participated in Farm Safety day and GROW IT. GROW IT included four stations focusing on information from the Nutrients for Life curriculum. Ellsworth FFA won third place by creating plant science lessons for elementary school students. The chapter also created a coloring contest for the students. The coloring sheets featured facts about plants and agriculture. Congratulations to all of the chapters that participated!  The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Kansas is supported by the program’s founding sponsor, Koch Ag and Energy Services, LLC.  FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found here.

FFA Friday: Illinois

Friday, September 19th, 2014
Prairie Central FFA Takes First Place Award Honors;  Cuba FFA Wins Second, and Maroa Forsyth FFA Wins Third Place Welcome back to FFA Friday! Illinois had 22 participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Prairie Central FFA, Cuba FFA, and Maroa Forsyth FFA. Prairie Central FFA won first place for a three part project including an elementary educational program, an informative breakfast for students and staff, and a community booth titled “Harvesting Hope.” The educational program taught elementary school students about the role of fertilizer in growing plants. The breakfast highlighted the farmer’s role in feeding the world. The community booth had games and handouts for all aged showing the positive aspects of fertilizer and maintaining a food supply. Cuba FFA won second place by leading various activities throughout the year. In the fall, younger FFA members grew a 1,800 square foot garden and older members grew 200 acres of corn and soybeans. In the springtime, members gave back to their community by planting flowers in planting beds. Third place goes to Maroa Forsyth FFA for growing plants in their greenhouse and hydroponic system. With their new knowledge, members taught fourth through tenth graders about soil and fertilizer. Congratulations to all of the Illinois chapters that participated! The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Arizona is supported by the program’s founding sponsor, CF Industries.  FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found at https://www.nutrientsforlife.org/helpingcommunitiesgrow.

FFA Friday: Florida

Friday, September 5th, 2014
Happy FFA Friday! Florida had sixteen participating chapters in the Helping Communities Grow Program this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Lincoln Middle FFA, Fort White FFA, and Hamilton County FFA. The Lincoln Middle FFA took top honors for a project addressing the issues in food availability, quality, and stability. The chapter gave presentations to the community about growing fresh produce in small spaces and the importance of fertilizer. Fort White FFA won second place for educational presentations about the importance of plant nutrients in the production of food in their very own back yard. The chapter was able to donate 590 pounds of mustard greens to two charities, serving over 190 families. Hamilton County FFA took third place for research on different aquatic plants and the plants ability to removed nutrients and improve water quality. They learned that nutrients the aquatic plants drew in from the water made the plants grow quickly and also cleaned the water. Congratulations to all of the Florida chapters that participated! The Nutrients for Life Foundation program in Florida is supported by the program’s founding sponsor Agrium Inc. FFA chapters, remember to complete step 1, by November 14, 2014, to participate in the 2014-2015 program! Details can be found at https://www.nutrientsforlife.org/helpingcommunitiesgrow.

FFA Friday: Colorado

Friday, August 29th, 2014
Today we have another FFA Friday post spotlighting great projects from the state of Colorado. The Helping Communities Grow program in Colorado had six participating FFA chapters this year. Congratulations to the top three chapters, Plateau Valley FFA, Boulder Career and Technical Education Center FFA and Fort Morgan FFA! (more…)

School Garden Spotlight: Tony Jensen

Monday, March 24th, 2014
Mr. Jensen, agriculture teacher in Nebraska, has always spent a lot of time outside.  From landscaping with his wife to activities like hiking and camping, he knows the value of getting some fresh air.  Now, with the creation of a growing dome, his students are able to connect with nature while at school!  The garden is almost a year old and has already had two successful seasons of growing vegetables.  Below, Mr. Jensen shares the challenges and opportunities of creating a school garden. Name: Tony Jensen School: Freeman Public School County, State: Gage County, Nebraska Grade, Class: 7-12th Grade Agriculture   Tell us about your background with soil science, nutrients, and gardening. I have always enjoyed being outdoors doing activities like fishing, hiking, and camping.  My wife has a horticulture background so our family spends a lot of time in the garden and working on landscaping around our home and community. Why did you decide to start a school garden? We constructed a growing dome greenhouse in May 2013 and are using the raised beds inside the growing dome to grow vegetables year-round.  We then donate our harvests to local food banks and pantries to provide for our neighbors in need. To me, there are many teachable moments that come from this facility.  We can teach about crop production, soil science, renewable energy, healthy eating, food safety, and service to others through hands-on activities. What were the first steps in making the growing dome a reality?  We researched a feasible option for a greenhouse structure that would meet the needs of our school, we set goals for our project, and then began raising funds for the structure. What did you grow and how did you choose that plant?  The first year, we decided to experiment with a variety of different vegetables to…

Helping Communities Grow 2012-2013 Winners and Project Summaries

Friday, January 17th, 2014
  The Helping Communities Grow outreach program is administered by the Nutrients for Life Foundation and is offered to FFA chapters. The Helping Communities Grow award program encourages FFA members to teach others about the importance of fertilizer and the role that it plays in one of two categories:  1) providing a safe and nourishing food supply; or 2) keeping the Earth green. In 2013, seventy-four FFA chapters were awarded for creating hands-on innovative programs to educate and engage their community on plant nutrition, fertilizer, soil science and crop related agricultural issues and the positive and critical role they play in food production. The top three chapters in each state and in the At-Large category received monetary awards of $5,000, $3,000, and $1,000 for first, second and third place. All other participants were awarded $500. “I am so impressed with the quality of projects we received in our Helping Communities Grow FFA chapter recognition program,” said Nutrients for Life Foundation Executive Director Harriet Wegmeyer. “It gives us great honor to award these checks to such deserving students. Not only did they educate fellow students and their communities about the important value of fertilizer, they expanded their leadership ability, communication skills and knowledge base during the year-long projects.”     At-Large First Place: Plateau Valley FFA, Colorado The Plateau Valley FFA members conducted an experiment on lettuce by studying how different types and rates of fertilizers effect plant growth. As a result, they learned soil type and quality had a large influence on their ability to grow the lettuce. Their experiment was conducted on growing stands they constructed out of wood and PVC pipe.  FFA members reported that the most rewarding part of the project was serving lettuce to community members at their annual FFA banquet and knowing it was FFA…

Teacher Spotlight: Sue Meggers

Thursday, October 31st, 2013
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